The New England Revolution's winning streak was halted at two, as they lost to D.C. United on Saturday night. Unable to put anything away of their own, the Revs allowed goals from Lamar Neagle and Sean Franklin to drop full points at RFK Stadium. What did we learn in the loss? Let's take a look.
1. D.C. United are a tough team for the Revolution. Going into the game, everything was in place for a Revolution victory. D.C. were winless and goalless in two, while the Revs had collected consecutive 2-1 results over the Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps and hadn't been shut out since April 23. United were also without multiple starters, including center backs Bobby Boswell and Steve Birnbaum, while the Revs were close to full health. The stars seemed to be aligned for New England but all that came crashing down after they conceded goals in the 20th and 27th minutes. In both cases, the Revs showed a lack of composure on the defensive end. On the other side of the ball, they couldn't break down a compact D.C. side. The Revs were unimpressive on Saturday night and tend to be when they face D.C. In fact, they went 0-2-1 against the Red-and-Black in 2016, scoring no goals. In 2015, the Revs were 0-1-1, grabbing two tallies. For whatever reason, United are a bogey team for the Revs.
2. Something needs to change defensively. Sure, the Revolution were shut out by D.C., but the team's problems aren't really in that part of the field. With so many talented attackers, Jay Heaps just needs to find the right combinations (though it wouldn't hurt if Kei Kamara started bagging goals). The real issues reside along the back line. Although both Andrew Farrell and Chris Tierney have their weaknesses, they should remain the first-choice outside backs. Tierney's left foot is cherished offensively, while Farrell's speed helps him excel at one-on-one defending. In the middle, the Revs need to find a compliment for Jose Goncalves. London Woodberry has been serviceable, but he's also been exposed at times. That said, the Revs probably need to hit the transfer market to fill this need. In the interim, perhaps Je-Vaughn Watson should get a look in the middle.
3. There's still plenty of time, but the Revs need to start accumulating points. With 18 games left to go, the Revs still have a lot of soccer left to play. A few bad results here and there aren't going to end the Revolution's season, especially since the Eastern Conference is so volatile. Consider that NYCFC are now second in the East despite being proclaimed dead just weeks earlier. A few big results over Eastern Conference foes will do a lot to change the opinions of fans. The Revolution's busy stretch continues with an Open Cup game on Wednesday, a trip to Montreal on Saturday, and two home games the following week. Points are a must as the Revs enter the summer months.